Economics International Relations

South Africa hosts the BRICS FM meeting

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is in Cape Town, South Africa, to attend a conference of BRICS foreign ministers.
  • The conference of foreign ministers intends to finalise the agenda for the upcoming BRICS summit, which will be held in South Africa in August.
  • The following are the key agenda items for this meeting: geopolitical consolidation and prospective expansion: The intention to increase BRICS membership and the debate of a shared currency are two significant subjects on the agenda that are gaining attention.
  • BRICS friends get together: South Africa is holding a Friends of BRICS meeting with foreign ministers from Africa and the Global South this year as the chair.

BRICS Expansion Prospects

  • Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Thailand are among the countries reportedly seeking BRICS membership.
  • Inclusion of major oil producers: Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and Venezuela are among the prospective new members.

China’s Place in the BRICS

  • China is driving expansion: China is leading the effort to increase its BRICS membership and promotes the idea of creating a larger space for the Global South.
  • Concentrate on multilateralism: China emphasises multilateralism in its criticism of US hegemony, employing the term “multilateralism” rather than “multipolarity” in BRICS debates.
  • Putting the Western geopolitical view to the test: The Ukraine war has bolstered the China-Russia cooperation and converted BRICS into an aspirational bloc that challenges the western geopolitical narrative.

India’s Place in the BRICS

  • Participation of India in the BRICS and the G7: India’s participation in both the BRICS and the G7 shows its engagement with diverse groups and does not imply allegiance with an anti-Western coalition.
  • Non-Western group: India sees BRICS as a non-Western organisation and believes it should remain so, concentrating on its role as a platform for countries from the Global South to express solidarity.
  • India faces new challenges: Some commentators say that as BRICS grows and more members join, India’s prominence within the bloc may diminish.

What about the BRICS currency?

  • Proposal for a joint currency: At the BRICS conference in Beijing last year, Russia proposed the notion of a common currency. Leaders formed a committee to investigate its viability.
  • Cautious reception and difficulties: The idea for a unified currency was met with scepticism, with questions about its viability and difficulties such as member countries’ various economic and political systems.
  • Protection against the dollar: The concept of a single currency gives an opportunity to minimise reliance on the US dollar, but not all members believe the time is right.
  • Currency trade difficulties: Negotiations between India and Russia for business in their respective currencies have been challenging, with Moscow preferring dollar payments due to India’s minimal imports.

China’s position on the US dollar

  • China has expressed dissatisfaction with the “hegemony of the US dollar” and intends to promote the use of the Yuan as a trading currency in Central Asia.
  • There are no open voices against the dollar: Despite its criticisms, there is little evidence that China is ready to ditch the US dollar at this time
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.